Brendan Lawlor, who is one of the world's top disabled golfers, made history this morning when he made his European Tour debut in the ISPS Handa UK Championship. 

The Louth man became the first professional disability golfer to compete on the European Tour, however he struggled around the iconic Belfry course.

The 22-year-old turned professional in September last year, shortly after winning the European Disabled Golf Association (EDGA) Scottish Open, which was played over the same course at the Renaissance Club used for the ASI Scottish Open. 

Lawlor, who is currently fourth in the World Rankings for Golfers with Disability, has a rare condition called Ellis-van Creveld syndrome, a disability characterised by a shorter stature and shorter limbs. 

Despite a birdie on the third hole, Lawlor failed to make an impression on the leaderboard, eventually carding a 12-over-par 84. 


An ecstatic Justin Walters claimed the clubhouse lead in the rain-delayed tournament

Walters carded six birdies and chipped in for an eagle on the 15th to card a superb eight-under-par 64, which was completed just as heavy rain began to fall on the former Ryder Cup venue.

That rain eventually led to play being halted due to flooding shortly after 2pm and the resulting four-hour delay meant the first round was not completed on schedule.

Walters was left to enjoy a three-shot lead over Bernd Wiesberger, Joel Sjoholm, Scott Vincent and Benjamin Hebert, with former world number one Martin Kaymer and the Scottish pair of Calum Hill and Craig Howie among an eight-strong group on four under par.

Walters had missed four cuts in five events on the European Tour's UK Swing since golf returned from the coronavirus shutdown and feared he may have "peaked" during the pandemic.

"During the lockdown I was in North Carolina and I didn’t have to face any golf courses being closed, I could practice as normal," the South African world number 393 added.

"I played a few mini-tour events and played a fair amount of golf and actually played really good golf, so I almost feel like I peaked during lockdown.

"I came back out here and I was confident, I felt like I was going to have a good run and missed three cuts by one, made one cut and didn’t finish very high with that.

"It’s been really disappointing to say the least but that’s golf, every time you expect something from it, it shows you otherwise.

"I just changed my outlook a bit and freed it up, just accepting what happens. I felt like I was swinging really well and getting nothing out of it and when that happens you start to get a bit grumpy, expecting too much out of yourself.

"The little things were starting to annoying me and I thought you know what, it’s a beautiful day – well it was earlier – just go and play and see what the game brings you because you are playing well.

"A few putts started going in, a couple of good breaks where I hit a bad shot and got away with it and that’s been lacking. To result in a 64, I’m ecstatic."

Ireland's Paul Dunne shot a 74 to open the tournament, while Jonathan Caldwell's round was just five holes old when the weather intervened with him sitting on one under.